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Mikhail Gorbachev: Pizza Hut Spokesman

Happy belated birthday to Mikhail Gorbachev, who turned 81 yesterday. After seeing his stint as a Pizza Hut spokesman, we have to wonder if he’s celebrating with a couple of pies:

If you’re wondering what the former Soviet leader is doing hawking fast food, well, you’re not alone. The unorthodox 1997 career move raised the eyebrows of many who wondered why Gorbachev had turned to shilling subpar pizza. “The next step will be to advertise Tampax,” one Russian told CNN at the time.

The birthmarked bigwig claimed he appeared in the commercial to raise money for his Gorbachev Foundation, an international pro-democracy think tank. He wouldn’t have done just any commercial for just any company, he explained, and only accepted the Pizza Hut gig because of his firm belief that pizza is a food that brings people together. “It’s not only consumption, it’s also socializing. If I didn’t see that it was beneficial for people, I wouldn’t have agreed to it.”

Wonder what his reasoning was for appearing in an Annie Leibovitz-photographed Louis Vuitton luggage ad in 2007?

The Pizza Hut ad, which co-stars Gorbachev’s then-10-year-old granddaughter, debuted in the U.S. during the Rose Bowl on January 1, 1998.

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How Google Chrome’s New Built-In Ad Blocker Will Change Your Browsing Experience
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If you can’t stand web ads that auto-play sound and pop up in front of what you’re trying to read, you have two options: Install an ad blocker on your browser or avoid the internet all together. Starting Thursday, February 15, Google Chrome is offering another tool to help you avoid the most annoying ads on the web, Tech Crunch reports. Here’s what Google Chrome users should expect from the new feature.

Chrome’s ad filtering has been in development for about a year, but the details of how it will work were only recently made public. “While most advertising on the web is respectful of user experience, over the years we've increasingly heard from our users that some advertising can be particularly intrusive,” Google wrote in a blog post. “As we announced last June, Chrome will tackle this issue by removing ads from sites that do not follow the Better Ads Standards.

That means the new feature won’t block all ads from publishers or even block most of them. Instead, it will specifically target ads that violate the Better Ad Standards that the Coalition for Better Ads recommends based on consumer data. On desktop, this includes auto-play videos with sound, sticky banners that follow you as you scroll, pop-ups, and prestitial ads that make you wait for a countdown to access the site. Mobile Chrome users will be spared these same types of ads as well as flashing animations, ads that take up more than 30 percent of the screen, and ads the fill the whole screen as you scroll past them.

These criteria still leave room for plenty of ads to show up online—the total amount of media blocked by the feature won’t even amount to 1 percent of all ads. So if web browsers are looking for an even more ad-free experience, they should use Chrome’s ad filter as a supplement to one of the many third-party ad blockers out there.

And if accessing content without navigating a digital obstacle course first doesn’t sound appealing to you, don’t worry: On sites where ads are blocked, Google Chrome will show a notification that lets you disable the feature.

[h/t Tech Crunch]

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Why Subliminal Messaging Doesn't Work (Unless You Want It To)
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Subliminal messages—hidden phrases in TV programs, movies, and ads—probably won't make you run out and join the Navy, appreciate a band's music, or start smoking. That's because these sneaky suggestions don't really change consumer behavior, even though many people believe otherwise, according to Sci Show Psych.

We say "don't really" because subliminal messages can sway the already motivated, research shows. For example, a 2002 study of 81 college students found that parched subjects drank more water after being subliminally primed with words like "dry" and "thirsty." (Participants who weren't already thirsty drank less.) A follow-up experiment involving 35 undergrads yielded similar results, with dehydrated students selecting sports drinks described as "thirst-quenching" over "electrolyte-restoring" after being primed for thirst. Experiments like these won't work on, say, chocolate-loving movie audiences who are subliminally instructed by advertisers to purchase popcorn instead.

Learn more about how subliminal messaging affects (or doesn't affect) our decision-making, and why you likely won't encounter ads with under-the-radar suggestions on the regular.

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